‘8 innings, 11K’ showcase in front of scouts from 11 MLB teams… Japan’s best left-hander, 1,000K faded due to ‘failure to win 8 games’

Shota Imanaga (30, Yokohama DeNA Bay Stars), the best left-handed pitcher in Japanese Professional Baseball (NPB), pitched brilliantly in front of major league scouts, but failed to become the winning pitcher.

Imanaga appeared as a starting pitcher in the 2023 Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) Chunichi Dragons home game held at Yokohama Stadium in Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan on the 13th, and pitched 8 innings, allowing 7 hits (1 home run), 11 strikeouts, no walks, and 1 run. Imanaga came off the mound in a tie situation and failed to become the winning pitcher, and Yokohama lost to Chunichi 1-2 after an 11th inning overtime.

According to Japanese media reports, 27 scouts from 11 major league teams, including the New York Yankees, Texas Rangers, and Philadelphia Phillies, gathered at Yokohama Stadium on this day to watch Imanaga pitch. Imanaga held a successful showcase in front of major league scouts with a powerful pitch, striking out 11 times with a 150 km/h fastball, sharp slider, and change-up.

Imanaga, who had recorded a total of 999 strikeouts before today’s game, achieved his 1,000th career strikeout record by striking out a missed swing against Chunichi’s second batter Bright Kenta in the top of the first inning with no runner on and one out. Imanaga, who became the 156th player in NPB history to reach a record, achieved ,000 strikeouts in 983⅓ innings, the 8th player in history and the 4th fastest left-handed pitcher.

Imanaga struck out every inning and cruised through the fourth inning with six strikeouts and no runs.메이저놀이터 However, in the top of the 5th inning, he gave up a run after hitting a left-handed solo shot from Chunichi’s leadoff hitter, Seiya Hosokawa. Imanaga did not waver after giving up the first run and finished the 5th inning with a fly ball and 2 strikeouts. Yokohama counterattacked in the bottom of the 5th inning when leadoff hitter Neftali Soto tied the game 1-1 with a mid-run solo shot.

Imanaga, who had 8 strikeouts through the 5th inning, added 2 strikeouts in the 7th inning alone, creating a 10-strikeout game for the second consecutive game and the sixth time this season. Imanaga, who added a strikeout in the 8th inning, increased his total number of strikeouts to 1,010.

Despite a 107-pitch pitch in 8 innings, Imanaga failed to achieve his 8th win of the season as he did not receive support from the batting line. Imanaga, who recorded his 7th win of the season against Chunichi on July 25, has not added a win in the next 7 games. Imanaga, who has a season record of 7 wins, 3 losses, and an ERA of 2.71 in 20 games, is ranked first in the entire NPB in strikeouts (163).

Meanwhile, Imanaga, who will become eligible for posting after completing this season, is already receiving great interest from major league clubs. On the 7th (Korean time), MLB Network’s John Morosi said, “According to sources, the Yokohama club will allow Imanaga to be posted to the major leagues after the end of the 2023 season. There is a possibility that Imanaga will finish the year by advancing to the major leagues.” “There is,” he said.

MLB.com, the official Major League Baseball website, said, “Imana is well known to MLB scouts for his performance in his team and international competitions,” and added, “The Yankees, LA Dodgers, and St. Louis Cardinals, who need to fill the gap in the starting rotation this offseason, are “It’s worth noting,” he predicted. Another American media outlet, CBS Sports, expressed expectations, saying, “Imanaga will become one of the notable Asian baseball stars this winter along with right-handed pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto (Olix Buffaloes) and outfielder Lee Jeong-hoo (Kiwoom Heroes).”

Regarding the interest sent to Imanaga from across the ocean in the United States, the Yokohama club responded cautiously, saying, “Nothing has been decided at this time. The club is officially in the position of making a decision at that time if (Imanaga) requests (posting application).” Despite this, major league clubs’ keen interest in Imanaga is not cooling down. It is known that Imanaga is also preparing to enter the major leagues step by step, such as by announcing his intention to challenge the United States to the Yokohama club during salary negotiations in December last year, raising expectations for the birth of another Japanese big leaguer.

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